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HVRHS volleyball opens with home loss

FALLS VILLAGE — For the team’s first game of the season and its home opener, the  Housatonic Valley Regional High School volleyball team faced off against Northwestern Regional High School Friday, Sept. 9. Despite the home-court advantage, the Mountaineers lost in three sets, 25-7, 25-11 and 25-11.

The season for the Mountaineers began on Monday, Aug. 29, with preseason training. During the almost two weeks of practices, the nine-player  team practiced and conditioned while setting their goals and mindset for the season.

“We want to get to the Berkshire League Championship this year. That’s our main goal,” said Head Coach Kiera Bisenius, “and I think it’s going to come down to sticking together as a team and leaving it all out on the court for them.”

The Mountaineers opened the first set with four quick points, with serves from senior Leila Kline that went unreturned. Northwestern quickly regrouped, going on a 6-0 run that was underlined by their play close to the net. Northwestern’s close coverage and defense, as well as some miscommunication between the Mountaineers, forced the home team to score only three more points the rest of the set. The Highlanders finished 25-7 on a 12-point scoring streak.

“This was a tough first game, Northwestern’s strong. For the week of practice that we’ve had, I think we’re doing a really good job,” said Bisenius.

In the second set, the Mountaineers improved in terms of defense and organization. While the Highlanders took the lead early on, the Mountaineers kept it competitive with a combination of Kline and fellow senior Slyvie Kozik Stiffler setting up multiple returns each time. While Northwestern won the second set 25-11, the Mountaineers chipped away at the lead and allowed shorter scoring runs.

In the final set, facing elimination, the Mountaineers looked gassed. While the set was close initially, the Highlanders eventually turned it on and began a 7-0 run that consisted of aces, spikes and blocks at the net against the home team. Miscommunication and mishaps beset the Mountaineers, with Northwestern claiming victory at 25-11.

“I definitely think we need to improve on those foundational skills, and adjusting to the play and not getting hung up on the technicalities of volleyball,” said Bisenius on looking ahead to the rest of the season.

The Mountaineers have 16 games left in their season, the next being a road game against Terryville on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The next game at home will be on Thursday, Sept. 15, against New Fairfield.

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